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    • "It's just to your right.  Would you like some help?"  There!  An offer, but Frances' choice.   Miss Grimes flicked her stick to the right and struck the package, bending down to retrieve it. "Oh, thank you, Mrs Pike, I have it." she smiled picking up the package and feeling it over for tears. "I hope none of it is peeping out, it is some undergarments and an old dress that needed repairs. I can sew but it's a laborious process for me, and we will be on our way to Kalispell tomorrow."   She managed to bundle up everything in one arm, packages, stick, and stuck out the other to somewhere near Emeline again.   "Goodbye, I hope to see you in Kalispell when you return" she did not shy away from using the 'S' word "And I shall certainly look up Mrs Connolly at the Diner."   @Bongo 
    • "Oh..."  Emeline gasped as the girl dropped her package, and started to bend down to get it, but then hesitated, wondering if perhaps she even wanted help, or might feel insulted at the offer, that it would imply that she couldn't do for herself.   "It's just to your right.  Would you like some help?"  There!  An offer, but Frances' choice.   @Javia        
    • He took Frances' hand and gently shook it, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Grimes."   "And you, Mr. Simons." she smiled sweetly.   "If you are interested in joining the ladies group my aunt Rebecca Wentworth will be running, I can get her to send you an invitation or she can personally come to see you."   "Oh, that sounds wonderful, I shall have to see if, er..." stammered the blind girl, and Crabbe could guess why.    "And it doesn't cost anything to join, does it, Ben?" Lorenzo put in.   "It sounds absolutely wonderful Mr. Simons" said Frances, now much more firmly "Please, just an invitation, I mean, just knowing when and when your Aunt would be holding the meetings would be all I need. I shall find it with no problem. What a kind thought, thank you, Mr. Simons."   At the sound of Ben munching, she decided that she had probably outstayed her welcome at his tableside and said "I shall leave you to your repast, Mr Simons, thank you again."   @JulieS    
    • "First off, proper grammar, it is 'like a blind person' not people," Clara pointed out , "And secondly we are here in this kitchen to cook proper meals for paying customers. That is a responsibility I take most seriously. Kindly be more....adult."   "Ain't it funny, Clara, I'm always makin' mistakes like that when I talk in my regular voice, but when I do 'personations of folk, I can speak right if I needs to. Listen to this:..." the gangly, scruffy teenager suddenly stood up ramrod straight at the frying pan and repositioned the spachelor in her hand like she was holding a dainty quill, then started to speak in a refined, maybe even pretentious voice, very unlike her own, with no trace of a southern accent:   "Arabella, would you please desist from precipitating those most distastful and less that utilitarian anecdotal confabulations. I find them most distressing!" All right, the words might not make sense, but anyone who knew Clara would have recognised the rhythm and tone of her voice.   @Wayfarer
    • "There ain't no 'we', Ara, this is between me n' the cowpoke here. You did not knock and I did not say you could come in," Caroline now pointed out as calmly as she could.   "I know..." replied Arabella sadly "An' I know I promised to do all them things but..." she shook her head a little "when I heard all them terrible horrible rotten things what happened to you, I was just so shocked and sad and angry that some low down bastard could do that to my sweet, pretty, lovely little Caroline, I just... well my soul kinda flew out to you, and my big ol' feet foller'd right along behind it."   She reached across and hugged her again and kissed her on top of her head again. Brendan then put in his two cents' worth.   From there, he looked down at Caroline. "Hey. What I was tryin' to say...goin' to say...is that...I understand."   "Good ta know, hon. Just wait a minute and we can continue this conversation once Ara leaves the room, shuts the door, and assures me she won't be listening in anymore. Got that?" Caroline eyed the teenager.   Arabella nodded compliantly enough, but then twisted in the bed so she was face to face with Brendan, whom she stared straight in the eye.   "But before I go, Brendan Connolly, you gotta tell me that you forgive me for all them silly things I said before and all them silly things I did cause even Caroline's forgiven me and she's the one I did and said them things to and we gettin' on all right now and I found out some stuff which made me change and I'm a better person now and it just ain't fair that you're still treatin' me so mean and, and..." she gulped down a sob and a lone tear appeared in the corner of her eye.   "... I really want you to be my friend again..." she wiped away the tear "... please."   @Bailey @Wayfarer
Clara Redmond Lutz

Woman at Work (Open to any)

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Mature Content: Highly doubt it

With: Clara, not sure who else
Location: Lickskittle Diner
When: July 1876
Time of Day: Morning

 

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Clara opened the door of the diner right on the crack of 8:00 AM, the usual opening time of the popular diner on Main Street. Now she herself had been hard at work a good two hours earlier baking and doing other food prep. Normally she and Emeline, the real owner of the place, did such things together but now today she was on her own for the first time. Yesterday Em and her brand new husband, Pike, left on a long trip ...somewhere, she wasn't even sure where just that it was to celebrate their very recent wedding. Em deserved it, Clara was so happy for her.

 

Clara knew there would be some who would question whether a girl of sixteen could manage a business like this on her own but she herself was beaming with confidence. It was a matter of being willing to put in the long hours of hard work and also know what one was doing. On that second category, Emeline had prepared her well. As for the first, Clara had always been a nose to the grindstone hard worker especially since the death of her mother when she had had to assume the mantle of cook, laundress, and housekeeper.

 

It didn't take long for the first customers to walk on in, a married couple, Tom and Victoria Weaver.

 

"Morning, Mr. and Mrs. Weaver," Clara greeted them.

 

"Good morning, child, we are here for the usual breakfast," Mr. Weaver smiled as he escorted his wife to the far corner table, their usual spot.

 

"Coming right up then," Clara nodded and sprang into action. Another day, another dollar!

 

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Ben walked into the cafe and took a seat at one of the empty tables.  If someone were to say to him six months ago that he would be up before nine o'clock in the morning, he would have thought they were crazy but here he was.  Even though he managed to find a game of poker on most days, not many of them went on pass midnight.  Kalispell was a quiet town where gambling was concerned and for that matter, entertainment as well.  Thankfully, he was in the middle of making plans to ammend the entertainment problem and if successful, make him some money as well.

 

So, here was at his favourite (well to be honest the only place in town) cafe.  As he waited, for the young girl to finish serving the Weavers, he looked around the room.  He had made a habit of getting to know who was wherever he went just in case he needed to and Tom Weaver was no exception...they had even played a friendly round of cards a few times.  Other than the Weavers and himself there were no-one else but that would likely change as the morning went on.

 

Seeing that Clara had finished with the Weavers, he waved for her to come over.  "Good morning.  Is it possible to have some bacon and eggs?"

 

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She wasn't particularly looking for him, Arabella was just nosy. She pressed her face up against the big glass-fronted window of the diner so that she could see inside without the reflected glare of the morning street interfering with the view. From inside her figure was a just a slight, vague, dark silhouette: except for her nose, of course, which was squashed flat against the glass, leaving a greasy smudge, and a circle of mist as she gasped, seeing who was inside. And it wasn't Mr & Mrs Weaver she was interested in, either. 

 

She was sitting in the chair opposite Ben before the tinkly bell over the door had even finished chiming. 

 

"Good Morning, Mr Simons!" she beamed, her eyes round and staring , her smile almost manic. Stronger men than Ben Simons had turned and fled at this foreboding sight.

 

"I heard me a rumor!" she informed him.

 

"I heard me a rumor that you was openin' a theater!" she ginned even wider, if that were possible.

 

"You do know that I happen to be the most accomplished dramatic actress, pianist, tumbler and general all-round entertainer to ever come out of the Old Dominion, o' course." she reminded him. Reminded, because she was always telling folks about her talents, when she wasn't actually demonstrating them to anyone who couldn't get away fast enough, so he must have heard. 

 

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Clara did not even need to scribble down the couple's order, it was always the same so she simply stated she would bring it out soon and two cups of coffee also, for the Weavers liked their coffee served with the meal not before. 

 

But there another familiar customer who had entered and seated himself by then, Mr. Simons. She didn't know a lot about the man, such as exactly what all he did for a living but he was always so well dressed and groomed, shoes shined, hair trimmed and combed.  He was definitely not a cowboy.

 

Approaching his table upon his wave (showed he must have made up his mind on his order), she greeted him, "Good day to you, Mr. Simons."

 

"Good morning.  Is it possible to have some bacon and eggs?"

 

"Of course, sir. Would you like toast with that? And anything to drink? Tea or coffee?" she nodded.

 

(That part is all happening before Ara's invasion. By the time Ara sits down to harass the poor man, Clara will be in the kitchen preparing orders.)

 

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"Of course, sir. Would you like toast with that? And anything to drink? Tea or coffee?" she nodded.

 

"Toast would be fine and make it a coffee," Ben answered.

 

As he waited for his order, Ben began to think about what he needed to do today...

 

"Good Morning, Mr Simons!" she beamed, her eyes round and staring , her smile almost manic. Stronger men than Ben Simons had turned and fled at this foreboding sight.

 

Ben meekly smiled at the girl.  Here was another person he tried to avoid most days when he could but alas today wasn't one of those days.  "Good morning, Miss Mudd."

 

"I heard me a rumor!" she informed him.

 

"Well, with a town the size of Kalispell, I would be surprised if there wasn't any rumours," he said in a light-hearted tone.  He was hoping that as she as she told him whatever the rumour was, that she would be leaving to tell someone else.

 

"I heard me a rumor that you was openin' a theater!" she ginned even wider, if that were possible.

 

For a moment, he wondered where she had heard about his plans to convert a large, disused building near the centre of town into a theatre.  He, then remembered, his earlier statement.

 

In order to get Arabella on her way, he nodded, "I am and when the first play is on, I will make sure you get a complimentary ticket in return for your interest."

 

"You do know that I happen to be the most accomplished dramatic actress, pianist, tumbler and general all-round entertainer to ever come out of the Old Dominion, o' course." she reminded him.

 

Oh, good Lord, the girl was telling him in no uncertain terms that she was interested in performing at the theatre.  He knew of her talents at playing the piano from the times he had been at the saloon but if he was to hire someone from there, it would the singer, Caroline Mundee.  Miss Mundee was the type to help fill seats, while Arabella was more likely to keep them empty.

 

Smiling, he leaned forward slightly, "Well, thank you for reminding me. I'll certainly keep you in mind when the time comes."

 

Hoping that it was enough to placate the girl, he began to look for the return of Clara.

 

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Smiling, he leaned forward slightly, "Well, thank you for reminding me. I'll certainly keep you in mind when the time comes."

 

Hoping that it was enough to placate the girl, he began to look for the return of Clara.

 

"So will you be hiring touring repertory companies or forming a local one?" she asked "Then, o' course, you'll be wantin' to get some of the big stars in with the touring Combination Companies, that'll be easier if you have a local Rep Company!" she pontificated, explaining his business plan to him.

 

"Now with a Local Rep you'll need actors, musicians, set designers and builders, scenery painters, lighting, front of house, costume makers: I can help you out there, I'm best friends with a professional seamstress..."

 

She looked up at Ben, her confident, brash and talkative exterior suddenly buckling, as she gave a tight-lipped grimace of desperation.

 

"Oh,  Mr Simons, I know folks round here think I'm just a blather-mouthed, good-fer-nuthin' silly little girl, but I got my heart set on being an actress, and I'll do just about anything to get my foot in the door and get some experience. If you could find it in your heart to let me help, even just back stage or painting sets or anything at all, I'd work without pay. I'd even change jobs so I could be available when you need me!" she offered. 

 

Fearing lest Mr. Simons might think this statement vague and mere pie in the sky dreaming, she elucidated with more concrete details.

 

"Please don't tell Mrs Devereaux or Miss Mundee, but I been offered a job at the funeral parlour and that'd leave me free to work in the theater in the evenings and if I thought there was a chance that you'd take me on, why, I'd bite the bullet and go an' snatch Mr. Jolly's hand off this very mornin'!"

 

The local undertaker, at least, had some appreciation of the Mudd girl's talents.

 

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Ben's eyes started to glaze over a little as he listened to Arabella.  Every time he was about to respond, she would say something else.  Then she mentioned some job she had at the funeral parlour and not wanting her current employer to know about it.

 

Having no intention of getting involved with the girl's life, Ben smiled, "You can count on me on being discrete.  As far as I'm concerned, it's something for you and Miss Devereau to sort out."

 

For a moment, he wondered where Clara was with his breakfast.  His food arriving would be a welcome break from Arabella's prattling...in fact any interruption would be better than this.  Taking another quick glance around, he could see no-one of his acquaintance.  So now he would have to think of something to get rid of the girl but didn't look he was trying to.  He had a reputation of his own to take care of and the last thing he wanted was to be seen treating anybody in a callous way especially in a public place.

 

Thinking about how he could get rid of Arabella, took only a few seconds before he hit on an idea.  "I'll let you in on a secret."

 

Shifting his chair slightly closer to hers to show that what he was about was very confidential.  He leaned slightly forward and whispered, "I admire your interest in the theatre, so I think you should be one of the first to know that sometime in the future I plan to hold auditions.  I can't say exactly when they will be on, but I want you to know just the same."

 

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Thinking about how he could get rid of Arabella, took only a few seconds before he hit on an idea. "I'll let you in on a secret."

 

Arabella gasped with excitement and leaned forward over the table so he could whisper in her ear: she loved secrets! 

 

Shifting his chair slightly closer to hers to show that what he was about was very confidential.  He leaned slightly forward and whispered, "I admire your interest in the theatre, so I think you should be one of the first to know that sometime in the future I plan to hold auditions.  I can't say exactly when they will be on, but I want you to know just the same."

 

"Oh, Mr Simons, I'm all ready fer a audition. In fact, let's save time and I'll do mine right now!" she yelped excitedly, pushing back her chair with a horrible, jarring scraping noise on the wooden floor and taking a few steps back, nearer to the Weavers, so he could appreciate her in all her histrionic glory. 

 

She threw a dramatic attitude and launched into a soliloquy.

 

"Under my battlements. Come, you spirits; That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here!" she shouted, shaking her fists at the ceiling: the sex part eliciting a little squeak of horror from Mrs Weaver.


She continued with Lady MacBeth's monologue; what she lacked in polished acting skill, she more than made up for in enthusiasm and volume, ending with the line.

"Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers!"

 

She really wanted to rend her garments apart at this point, but her work smock made that impractical, so instead she contented herself with pulling it down at the front a bit and exposing a goodly patch of white bony chest the clavicle plainly poking through her translucent skin.

 

"Cease this filthy display, child!" cried Mr Weaver, standing.

 

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Clara had her work cut out for her, the Weavers breakfasts needed to be done and then of course Mr. Simons which put her in the kitchen so she could not wait on any other newly arriving customers. Turned out that, so far at least, it was only Arabella Mudd and she wasn't there as a paying customer. Mixed blessing really.

 

Just as Clara was bringing on out the two plates for the Weavers she could hear Ara's easily recognizable voice, was she doing Shakespeare? There she was standing in the middle of the diner floor and just then ....

 

"Cease this filthy display, child!" cried Mr Weaver, standing.

 

Oh this was not good. The Weavers were steady customers and Emeline would not be pleased to find out she had lost them as regulars. What had happened?

 

"Ara, what on earth are you doing anyhow?" she frowned at her admittedly weird friend, if it wasn't one thing with Arabella, it was another.

 

But she also wanted to interrupt whatever this budding disaster was all about by appealing to the Weavers' stomaches.

 

"I am sorry, Mr. Weaver. But please, sit down again, I have your breakfasts nice and warm," she marched up to their table and set the plates down in front of the two, "Enjoy."

 

Then she turned to Arabella, "Are you here to order something, dear? If not kindly do not disturb the customers. Speaking of which, Mr. Simon, I have your breakfast started and hopefully I can bring it out real soon."

 

More-Clara.jpg

 

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As soon as Arabella launched into her "audition", Ben felt like crawling under the table.  He had been warned but in his desperation to get rid of the girl, he had unleashed her.  Thankfully, Weaver spoke up to end the tortue...

 

"Cease this filthy display, child!" cried Mr Weaver, standing.

 

Ben nodded his head vigorously, "Yes, please stop."

 

Before he could get in another word, Clara appear and took control of the situation...

 

"Ara, what on earth are you doing anyhow?" she frowned at her admittedly weird friend, if it wasn't one thing with Arabella, it was another.

 

But she also wanted to interrupt whatever this budding disaster was all about by appealing to the Weavers' stomaches.

 

"I am sorry, Mr. Weaver. But please, sit down again, I have your breakfasts nice and warm," she marched up to their table and set the plates down in front of the two, "Enjoy."

 

Then she turned to Arabella, "Are you here to order something, dear? If not kindly do not disturb the customers. Speaking of which, Mr. Simon, I have your breakfast started and hopefully I can bring it out real soon."

 

Ben smiled, "Thank you, ma'am."

 

While Clara was handling the Weavers and Arabella, it gave Ben time to think of what to say next.  He turned to Arabella with a disappointed look on his face, "My dear, when someone tells someone something that is supposed to be in confidence, they expect it to stay that way.  Now that you have let the cat out of the bag by auditioning here and now, people will know what I am planning.  I'm afraid, I'll have to cancel the auditions for local talent and send for some out of town professionals."

 

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Ben nodded his head vigorously, "Yes, please stop."

 

Arabella promptly stopped; she was very pleased that just a few lines had been enough to convince Mr. Simons what an asset she would be to his stage. 

 

Before he could get in another word, Clara appeared and took control of the situation...

 

Then she turned to Arabella, "Are you here to order something, dear? If not kindly do not disturb the customers. Speaking of which, Mr. Simon, I have your breakfast started and hopefully I can bring it out real soon."

 

Ben smiled, "Thank you, ma'am."

 

"Oh!" exclaimed Arabella, remembering her actual mission "Well, see, last night Jemima told me that the lady who Mrs Pike hired to help you out might not be well enough to come in..." she looked around then cupped her hands to say in a whisper so loud it could have been heard for blocks around "WOMEN'S TROUBLES!" she then continued in her normal voice "... and she said if'n she didn't turn up, I should come in and see if you need help. She'd ha' come herself, but she needs to clean Mr. Falmer Browne's gutters out." There, it was as clear as mud, or as clear as Mudd could make it.

 

"Anyhow, while I was on my way in, Mr Simons here stopped me and asked me to audition fer his top secret theatre what he's openin'." she further elucidated.

 

He turned to Arabella with a disappointed look on his face, "My dear, when someone tells someone something that is supposed to be in confidence, they expect it to stay that way.  Now that you have let the cat out of the bag by auditioning here and now, people will know what I am planning.  I'm afraid, I'll have to cancel the auditions for local talent and send for some out of town professionals."

 

Arabella listened carefully to this: careful in that she was careful to hear only the parts she wanted to hear. 

 

"That's a good idea, boss." she agreed "'Part from me and Caroline Mundee, there ain't no other talent round here. I'll come and find you tomorrow and we can plan who to hire. See, it's the big Combination Companies you need to... oh!" she sniffed the air "... I'd better go turn that bacon over!" she yelped as she started to dart into the back kitchen, pulling her bonnet off and disentangling herself from her shawl.

 

Just then the door opened and a new customer walked in, calling for "Ham, Eggs and Tomatoes! but hold the tomatoes! And coffee. Plenty of coffee! Oh, er, please."  before slumping into a chair with a sigh of "What a night!". It was Lorenzo Crabbe, sporting a bandage around his left ear. 

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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At least Arabella stopped.............doing whatever it was she had been doing? Clara was actually uncertain of what that had been and did not wish to ask. Turned out the girl claimed she did have a specific reason for being here at the diner (needless to say it did not involve spending any money of course).

 

"Oh!" exclaimed Arabella,  "Well, see, last night Jemima told me that the lady who Mrs Pike hired to help you out might not be well enough to come in..." she looked around then cupped her hands to say in a whisper so loud it could have been heard for blocks around "WOMEN'S TROUBLES!" she then continued in her normal voice "... and she said if'n she didn't turn up, I should come in and see if you need help. She'd ha' come herself, but she needs to clean Mr. Falmer Browne's gutters out."

 

Gracious! She often had to wonder if Arabella did this sort of thing on purpose?

 

"Shhh! Unfit topic for a public eatery," Clara frowned.

 

"Also Emeline did not inform me of any woman coming here to help me out. I believe you or your source of information are incorrect. I will be fine," Clara remarked.

 

Then Arabella proceeded to reveal some grand secret Mr. Simons had apparently divulged to her (what on earth was he thinking???)  Needless to say he was not pleased. So the man was going be investing in what sounded like a theatre, like one of those east coast ones? And auditions too? Clara frankly did not care, she had never been to a theatre in her life and she had lived just fine without it, thank you.

 

She then turned to go back in the kitchen when once more the front door opened and there was another customer. Goodness, the morning had the look of it being a busy one. Hard on her but good for the profits.

 

"I'd better go turn that bacon over!" Arabella yelped as she started to dart into the back kitchen, pulling her bonnet off and disentangling herself from her shawl.

 

Clara looked wide eyed, the kitchen was a sacred place to her and Emeline, people did not simply waltz in there!

 

"No!  Arabella, I will do it!  That bacon is not burning, I just put it into the pan a minute ago. You are not to mess around in there!"

 

Before she could charge into the kitchen to make sure her decision was enforced, she turned to force a harried smile at the latest customer.

 

"Good day, sir!  Have a seat. Ham and eggs coming up. And coffee too."

 

With that seen to, Clara rushed off to the kitchen like it was a race, which in a way it was.

 

***

Her quick action didn't give the other girl time enough to do much of anything, Ara had the spatula in hand to turn the bacon slices but Clara moved right up to her and literally took the utensil out of her hand with one quick and firm swoop.

 

"Ara! One never does anything in another's kitchen without explicit verbal permission from the cook. I will handle this. This is my job, what I do every day," she lectured even as she began flipping over the sizzling pork slices of goodness.

 

"Please, Ara, do not make my job any more stressful, " she pleaded.

 

more-Clara03.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A look of confusion appeared on Ben's face.  The Mudd girl was now calling him "boss".  He struggled to remember if he had said anything to indicate that he had hired her but he knew that he hadn't.  If Arabella thought that she was working for him that meant she'd be showing up at any time and at any place.  That thought made him feel a bit sick in the stomach and he wasn't so sure that breakfast would be a good thing right now.  This needed to be nipped in the bud before it got any worse.

 

Sadly, he didn't have much of chance to tell Arabella that she had made a mistake because as she soon as she finished her latest speech she went running off into the kitchen.  Poor Clara, now had the problem of dealing with her.

 

It was about this time when Crabbe walked in the diner and yelled out his order.  Ben looked over at the man and noticed the bandage.  Crabbe and him had a relationship that was more akin to one of business acquaintances and not one of friendship.  They were both conmen in their own ways.  However, the difference was that Ben only conned those who deserved it or had done him (or someone he cared about) wrong in some way, whereas Crabbe was more likely to con someone just for the heck of it, especially if it had any monetary rewards.

 

Getting up out of his chair, Ben went over and took a seat opposite Crabbe, "Let me guess...you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar."

 

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Getting up out of his chair, Ben went over and took a seat opposite Crabbe, "Let me guess...you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar."

 

"More like some whore tried to bite my ear off!" snapped Crabbe, gently touching his bandaged protuberance. The Weavers made disgusted noises, and Lorenzo lowered his voice a little to a calmer level. 

 

"Sorry Ben, not your fault. Just gets my goat, is all, folks round here are just philistines. I took this hooker back to our place and asked her to take her clothes off so I could take some artistic shots, and she up and says she's 'not that kind of a girl!' I mean: girl?! Tessie must be 40 if she's a day. Jesus!" he said, touching his ear again. Then he remembered.

 

"Say, did I hear Muddy say you were opening a theatre round here? For these yokels?!" he snorted, jerking a thumb at the Weaver's as representatives of the local fauna, before sitting back in his chair and surveying Ben like he was some sort of lunatic on display at a circus. 

 

"You remember the Helena Theatre?" he reminded Simons of the somewhat unimaginatively named playhouse in the Territory's capital city. "Even they had trouble getting full houses every night, with a populous and, I guess, sorta sophisticated potential audience to work with. Course, the answer's pretty clear, but I'm not sure that there's many men willin' to sink to dabblin' with such things..." 

 

What could it be that the ex-pimp and aspiring pornographer thought too horrible to get involved in?

 

"Ben, I'm afraid that to make a go of this thing, you're going to have to present... Light Opera!" he let the full grimness of this assertation sink in, but then warmed to the subject: "See, the womenfolk like to go to that, cause they think it's respectable and socially superior, and the fellers like to go cause of all the girls in tights, showin' off their nice shapely legs." 

 

Mr Weaver was leaning sideways a little, cocking an ear at the mention of these delightful fancies.

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"Ara! One never does anything in another's kitchen without explicit verbal permission from the cook. I will handle this. This is my job, what I do every day," she lectured even as she began flipping over the sizzling pork slices of goodness.

 

Arabella shook her head a little and rested her butt on the big table in there. "Well, you don't do it all on your own every day" she said simply. Sure, Arabella was known around town as a blathermouthed flibberdygibbet, and Clara as 'that nice sensible Redmond girl' but sometimes the latter was perhaps a little too stiff and unyielding in her ways. That didn't stop Arabella loving her, and wanting to help her, though.

 

"Please, Ara, do not make my job any more stressful, " she pleaded.

 

"Oh Clara Anne Lutz, I know you think I'm just a noodle-headed idjit, and (sigh) you're probably right: but even Mammy Cookie thinks I'm useful in the kitchen, she tells me what to do and I do it and, guess what? I do it all right. So when you're good and ready you just bark out some orders to me and I'll obey like a good little kitchen maid."

 

She hoped that was enough, that it gave Clara the control over the situation she needed to allow the slight Virginian girl to be of some use to her.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Well, you don't do it all on your own every day" Ara retorted.

 

"I never claimed I did, Emeline and I worked as partners," Clara pointed out as she flipped the bacon slices onto their other sides.

 

"Please, Ara, do not make my job any more stressful, " was her plea.

 

"Oh Clara Anne Lutz, I know you think I'm just a noodle-headed idjit, and (sigh) you're probably right: but even Mammy Cookie thinks I'm useful in the kitchen, she tells me what to do and I do it and, guess what? I do it all right. So when you're good and ready you just bark out some orders to me and I'll obey like a good little kitchen maid," Ara claimed with a huge dose of seeming sincerity. Of course that did not mean she would follow thru, that was the issue.

 

Clara gave in, against her better judgement, she could use the help.

 

"Very well, I need some eggs then, the basket is over there......crack'em open in that frying pan ...the one to the right and fry them up. If the customer makes no special request we always simply prepare them sunny side up. Use four eggs since I have two people wanting some," she directed in a calm clear tone of voice.

 

 

 

 

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"Very well, I need some eggs then, the basket is over there......crack'em open in that frying pan ...the one to the right and fry them up. If the customer makes no special request we always simply prepare them sunny side up. Use four eggs since I have two people wanting some," she directed in a calm clear tone of voice.

 

Arabella stopped herself cracking a smile at Clara's somewhat pedantic over-instruction ('Four eggs sunnyside' would have been enough detail on what was needed, but that was Clara!) She gave a little curtsy and stuck to cracking eggs instead. 

 

"Four eggs, simple!" she smiled, getting the four into the frying pan without breaking the yolks and waiting until Clara wasn't looking before fishing out the one little bit of shell that went in by accident.

 

"Say, how's Jacob liking his job with the telegraph company?" she asked chattily "Jemima says that Hector says that their Pa says that he's the best express delivery rider they ever had! 'Don't know the meanin' of danger!' he said, 'get's through hell or high water' he said 'be it Indians or outlaws, he can dodge or fight his way out o'...' Say, you all right Clara Anne? You lookin' a little squirrel there. Mornin' sickness I suppose?" she asked, for to her eye Clara looked a little pale.

 

@Wayfarer

 

 

 

 

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Arabella got to it as requested allowing Clara to begin on the toast.

 

"Say, how's Jacob liking his job with the telegraph company?" she asked chattily "Jemima says that Hector says that their Pa says that he's the best express delivery rider they ever had! 'Don't know the meanin' of danger!' he said, 'get's through hell or high water' he said 'be it Indians or outlaws, he can dodge or fight his way out o'...' Say, you all right Clara Anne? You lookin' a little squirrel there. Mornin' sickness I suppose?" she asked, for to her eye Clara looked a little pale.

 

None of that was what Clara wanted to hear, it already was a bone of contention between her and her beloved husband, she made no bones about her not being happy with him putting himself at risk like that. Yes, it was needed money but if Jacob went and died on them, where would Clara and the babe be in the future then?

 

"I do not have morning sickness I will have you know," it was a white lie but it was always wise to admit as little as possible to Arabella lest the whole town know about it.

 

"Oh and for your edification, I have absolutely zero interest in what Hector says about any topic. Kindly change the subject," Clara asserted.

 

"How is your new friend, ummm,  Miranda?"  Clara fully knew it was Miriam but she figured that would get Arabella going as she would be eager to correct her.

 

 

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On 9/7/2021 at 4:46 PM, Lorenzo Crabbe said:

"Say, did I hear Muddy say you were opening a theatre round here? For these yokels?!" he snorted, jerking a thumb at the Weaver's as representatives of the local fauna, before sitting back in his chair and surveying Ben like he was some sort of lunatic on display at a circus. 

Ben sighed.  Arabella was a lot louder than he thought she was.  There was no use denying since it would be probably around town before the end of the day. "Yes, I am and I don't consider them yokels."

 

It was best to start curry favour now or he'd have no-one to fill seats even if he got good acts.

 

"You remember the Helena Theatre?" he reminded Simons of the somewhat unimaginatively named playhouse in the Territory's capital city. "Even they had trouble getting full houses every night, with a populous and, I guess, sorta sophisticated potential audience to work with. Course, the answer's pretty clear, but I'm not sure that there's many men willin' to sink to dabblin' with such things..."

 

"I remember but there were times they had people lining up to get in.  It all depends on who and what's playing."

 

"Ben, I'm afraid that to make a go of this thing, you're going to have to present... Light Opera!" he let the full grimness of this assertation sink in, but then warmed to the subject: "See, the womenfolk like to go to that, cause they think it's respectable and socially superior, and the fellers like to go cause of all the girls in tights, showin' off their nice shapely legs." 

 

Mr Weaver was leaning sideways a little, cocking an ear at the mention of these delightful fancies.

 

Glancing over at the Weavers, Ben smiled.  Weaver was too busy leaning over to notice the scowl on his wife's face.  No doubt she would have a lot to say to him when they left.

 

He turned his attention back to Crabbe, "If Light Opera is what it takes to fill seats, then so be it.  As I said, it all depends on who you get to and what shows you put on."

 

@Javia

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Glancing over at the Weavers, Ben smiled.  Weaver was too busy leaning over to notice the scowl on his wife's face.  No doubt she would have a lot to say to him when they left.

 

"Never mind them. Whatdya think? Operetta or, well, just about anything that gives you an excuse to show women in tights. Problem is finding girls who can sing and act and have real nice shapely legs." Crabbe half explained, half drooled. "And don't go looking at Muddy: she can sing but her legs are like pipe-cleaners, I've seen 'em." 

 

He turned his attention back to Crabbe, "If Light Opera is what it takes to fill seats, then so be it.  As I said, it all depends on who you get to and what shows you put on."

 

"Hmmm" Lorenzo agreed and then shrugged "Well, while we're talking of shows, what's this I hear about your Charlie up and becoming Deputy Marshall: does that mean he ain't intending to fight any more?" the bespectacled man asked with a genuine frown on his face. After all, he would hardly be able to ask the Deputy to arrest himself for bailing on his boxing contract, and he'd rather keep friendly with the law as far as possible.

 

@JulieS

 

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"I do not have morning sickness I will have you know," it was a white lie but it was always wise to admit as little as possible to Arabella lest the whole town know about it.

 

Arabella frowned. "Is that good? I mean, aren't you meant to get it? we should go and ask someone about that: Granny Miggins or Mrs Wigfall or someone who's had lots of kids." Maybe some folks just didn't get it, but Arabella took the health of pregnant Clara and her unborn God-daughter and namesake seriously!

 

"Oh and for your edification, I have absolutely zero interest in what Hector says about any topic. Kindly change the subject," Clara asserted.

 

"Oh, but he's just full of all sorts of interestin' facts and figures an' funny jokes, too. Like the other week in the saloon, this feller staggers in though the doors all covered in blood and falls down on the floor and gasps 'Oh [Damn] me fellers..." Arabella whispered the Damn part "... some [whore] just stabbed me to death with a letter opener!' and old Hector, he just looks over cool as you like and says 'Well, Mr Grimes, maybe she thought you was a letter!" when Arabella noticed that Clara wasn't laughing like she was, she added "Well, maybe you had to be there. It was funny the way Hector said it. Even Mr Grimes had to chuckle, lyin' there in a pool of his own blood. I tell you what, Clara, no way I can get all them blood stains out o' the saloon floor, I'm gonna tell Mr Flandry we should just paint the whole darn floor red! Ooh, these eggs is done."

 

"How is your new friend, ummm,  Miranda?"  Clara fully knew it was Miriam but she figured that would get Arabella going as she would be eager to correct her.

 

"Miranda!?" Arabella queried, then the penny dropped. "Oh, you mean Dollypops! Oh, she's fine. No, more than fine, she's just the most beautiful, wonderful, prettiest little Dollypops that ever was!" she corrected herself. "Tell you what though Clara, even though she come from New York, she's had ever such a sheltered life: I've had to teach her all sorts of things. Still, you wouldn't believe some of the tricks we get up to. Guess what we did together yesterday? Here's a clue..." she turned sideways on and pointed to her backside while giving Clara a knowing nod.

 

@Wayfarer

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"Hmmm" Lorenzo agreed and then shrugged "Well, while we're talking of shows, what's this I hear about your Charlie up and becoming Deputy Marshall: does that mean he ain't intending to fight any more?" the bespectacled man asked with a genuine frown on his face. After all, he would hardly be able to ask the Deputy to arrest himself for bailing on his boxing contract, and he'd rather keep friendly with the law as far as possible.

 

"Charlie becoming a deputy was news to me as well.  First heard about it from my Aunt Rebecca," Ben smiled, "She wasn't too pleased about it but I think she's over it now."

 

He looked over to the entrance to the kitchen and wondered how much longer his breakfast would be.  Thankfully, the Mudd girl was still nowhere to be seen, so maybe he could enjoy it without having to go through another audition.

 

"As far as I know, he's still going to fight.  Unless you know something that I don't," he told Crabbe in a light-hearted tone, "Besides, I think the fight is the least of my worries at the moment.  According to you, I have go and find some shapely girls who can act and sing."

 

He thought for a moment about what he had just said.  Finding a shapely girl shouldn't be that hard but then again maybe Crabbe was right.  Kalispell wasn't a one-horse town, so there had to be someone out there just waiting to be discovered.  Besides, the task would involve looking and talking to many women and that in itself would make it worthwhile.

 

"You know Crabbe, if it weren't for you, I would have no-one to remind me of how important it is to get the right ladies for my theatre.  I'll make sure that I'll give you the credit you deserve."

 

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"As far as I know, he's still going to fight.  Unless you know something that I don't," he told Crabbe in a light-hearted tone.

 

Lorenzo rubbed his hands together, a smile of satisfaction decorating his face. "Well, that's good to hear, Ben my boy, mighty good to hear. Apart from saving me the inconvenience of finding another pugilist, I reckon half the town'll pay to come and watch the local law having ten bells knocked outta them!"

 

"Besides, I think the fight is the least of my worries at the moment.  According to you, I have go and find some shapely girls who can act and sing."

 

"There's Caroline Mundee at the saloon: she can sure sing and half her act's showin' her legs. I mean she's kinda..." the word he wanted to use was 'slutty' but as her long-time friend he tried to think of a better way of putting it, especially as her brassy nature hid an actually reticent sexuality. "... well, let's just say she might not be overly convincing as the innocent Ingénue!"

 

He shrugged, and added philosophically: "You should audition her on stage, though. You can't tell until you see 'em up there, having to fill a great big place like that with their personality, you know what I mean?"

 

"You know Crabbe, if it weren't for you, I would have no-one to remind me of how important it is to get the right ladies for my theatre.  I'll make sure that I'll give you the credit you deserve."

 

"Oh sure!" Crabbe grinned "If the thing's a smash, definitely tell folks it was all down to me. Course, if it's a failure, you'd best keep my name outta the thing." he joked in reply. "So, where you puttin' this wing-ding on - White Rose, I suppose?" he asked, thinking the recently deserted building would make the obvious place to convert into a theatre. 

 

@JulieS

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Ben nodded, "I was considering the White Rose as a possible venue.  However, there is one small hitch...it's owned by the bank.  I'll have to work out something that my uncle will like so that I can get it on terms that I can afford."

 

He tapped his fingers on the table as he thought about his problem of getting the White Rose.  Uncle Charles would need some serious convincing that the theatre was a worthwhile venture.  If only there was a way....

 

A huge smile crept on his face, "You know Crabbe, you might come in handy after all."

 

@Javia @Wayfarer

 

OOC: Wayfarer...now would be a good time for Clara to come back with Ben's breakfast.

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ooc: I was planning on it this past weekend, but was too busy.

 

Clara got mostly what she figured she would by the mere mention of Ara's friend's name - well the wrong name but that had been deliberate. Ara became every animated and enthusiastic (even for Ara!) as she gushed about the other girl. Goodness sakes, Dollypops though? What an awful nickname. But on the other hand, she was glad for Ara that she had found such a grand friend.

 

It ended though with a bit too much information, Clara looked puzzled at the other girl, "I have no idea what that means and I am quite uncertain I wish it to be explained to me either. Besides, I need to serve our customers."

 

***

 

A mere couple of minutes later, Clara carried out then set  two heaping plates in front of Mr. Simon and Mr. Crabbe,"There you go, gentlemen. Salt and pepper is on the table. Would either of you like any cream or sugar or both for your coffees?"

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About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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